The success of an enterprise can be measured by growth, but that growth can bring challenges in proportion to the degree of success enjoyed. Infinity Insurance is facing such challenges as the result of annual growth in excess of 15 percent. In the past year we have actually seen a 20 percent increase in customer inquiries -- from roughly 8,000 to 10,000 per day -- resulting in an increased workload and drop in customer satisfaction levels.
The Infinity management team had to decide how to handle this growth and increased workload challenge, taking into consideration that the number of policy changes was increasing, the customer service budget was quickly being used up, and the level of customer satisfaction was falling by 13 percent, according to our customer service polls.
First we wanted to look at what we currently had in place and then determine where we could streamline operational processes. We found that the increased amount of data generated was requiring additional magnetic and microfiche storage, making retrieval slow and inefficient. This slow retrieval process meant we could not provide customers with answers immediately and, as a result, increased the number of telephone callbacks customer service had to make in over 60 percent of the cases. This translates to approximately 2,000 additional callbacks daily. While we haven't calculated exact figures, there is no question that these additional calls affected our bottom line. In addition to identifying the need to streamline our operations, we noted a definite growing demand from agents and brokers to access policy information via an extranet.
After our information-gathering stage, management set the following objectives to upgrade our customer service function:
- Archive 200mb of data daily.
- Achieve next-day availability of policy information in customer service department.
- Enable agent/broker self-service to policies via the Web.
- Accommodate 10,000 inquires daily.
- Eliminate telephone callbacks.
- Eliminate archaic microfiche operation.
- Reduce customer service budget.
- Increase customer satisfaction level.
After an extensive evaluation of technologies and vendors, we selected the Radiant Business Document Server from ClearStory Systems (Westborough, Mass). ClearStory was able to demonstrate that its system could not only meet our goals, but also provide additional features and services that extended functionality into new areas. For example, content management could meet the goals of our customer service group and it could be extended to agents who were looking for real-time access to their customers' documents and correspondence. The new system was Web-based, so users could log in and access the information easily, and we were able to connect it to the Infinity Web portal. High-volume indexing and document imaging meant that we could capture, manage and deliver information for huge volumes of content moving through the system daily.
Our company's IT architecture allowed seamless integration of the two applications -- our homegrown inquiry systems with ClearStory's Radiant Business Document Server as the back end. From the user perspective, the implementation and application was simple and unobtrusive. The inquiry interface has a series of tabs across the top, and we just added one labeled "Documents." Clicking on the Document tab would then bring users to ClearStory's fixed content management repository. The users did not have to go into another application as they had previously. In fact, they were not aware there was another application running as the back end of our inquiry system, and we did not have to spend any time or money on training because the system is so intuitive. Documents are displayed in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat) or any format the user specifies.
As a result of our implementation, we achieved the following results:
- Improved customer service.
- Initial survey indicated 90 percent customer satisfaction.
- Customer service budget reduced by 22 percent.
- Service representative staff reduced by 30 percent.
- Enhanced service levels to agents and brokers via Extranet access.
- No additional magnetic storage required to handle increase in business.
- Microfiche process eliminated.
- Costs and inefficiencies associated with policy copy requests by agents, tape handling, transportation, delays, distribution, and customer service workflow.
- Customer service callbacks virtually eliminated -- 2,000 calls reduced to 100.
- Over 95 percent of customer inquiries answered on customer call-in.
I estimate Infinity Insurance obtained a return on investment within six weeks. The elimination of microfiche and telephone call ack costs, together with the reduction in customer service labor requirements, were far beyond our expectations. Our customer service representatives have higher morale being relieved of the drudgery of searching microfiche and calling customers back sometimes two or three times per inquiry.
Best of all, our agents get tremendous value from the Infinity Insurance secure agent portal. Through seamless integration with the ClearStory's Radiant BDS, our agents have instant access to all customer-related information. Not only are they able to access monthly reports, but agents also can view policies, customer correspondence and any documents that were mailed to their clients. Agents have a 360-degree view of all customer documentation, enabling dramatic service improvements.
Previously agents called the customer service group to access documents. Now, they have self-service access to content and can be more responsive to customers -- a win-win scenario for all.
About Infinity Insurance: Infinity Insurance is one of the largest second-tier casualty insurance companies in the eastern United States, with an annual growth of over 15 percent. Over 400 customer service representatives reply to over 7,000 daily inquiries regarding policy activity. Infinity's net written premiums last year were in excess of $817.6 M.